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Three 6 Mafia co-founder Lord Infamous passes away

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The hip hop community suffers another devastating loss with the sudden passing of Lord Infamous. The Memphis rapper born Ricky Dunigan, was founding member of the controversial, Academy Award winning rap group Three 6 Mafia. On December 20, 2013, Dunigan suffered a heart attack while sleeping in his mother’s home. He was 40.

Although their roster has changed over the years, Lord Infamous started Three 6 Mafia in 1991 in Memphis, Tennessee with his half brother Paul “DJ Paul” Beauregard, and Jordan “Juicy J” Houston. Their original name was "Backyard Posse". Their musical style initially featured dark, pulsating beats with gritty lyrics, but has since moved to a more mainstream sound.

Despite being described by friends as one who was "generous" and "loved by everybody", Lord Infamous was considered by some as the darkest member of the group, with his lyrics touching on violent subject matters such as suicide, and torture.

Earlier this year, most of the group's members reformed and were renamed Da Mafia 6ix and released a mix tape called 6ix Commandments. DJ Paul stated that Lord Infamous had been working with them on a new album, which is set for release in March 2014. Infamous had also been preparing for the re-release of his old mix tape series.

Friends, family, and colleagues alike are still shocked by the disastrous news.

Friend and group mate Lola “Gangsta Boo” Mitchell was the first to report via Twitter that her mentor had passed away.

Another group mate and friend Juicy J tweeted Saturday. "Thx you for your prayers, I'm very hurt, can't believe it's true."

Friend Lil Wyte added: "He gave us the name #Triple6Mafia he was a pioneer, he was a god, he was my friend. RIP Ricky 'Lord Infamous' Dunigan."

DJ Paul also mentioned that although Infamous had not been ill recently, he did suffer a stroke and heart attack in 2010.

Although well known in the hip hop community, Lord Infamous, along with his Three 6 Mafia group mates became known by the masses after striking gold in 2005, with "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from the film Hustle and Flow, starring Terrence Howard. The hit won Best Original Song at the 78th Academy Awards. Two years later, they went on to win Favorite Band/Duo/Group at the American Music Awards.

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